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Styrene vs. Foamboard Printing

Styrene & Foamboard - What's The Difference? 

It's time to decide on your signage, but you want to be educated about your choice. So, should you choose styrene printing or opt for printing on foam board? What's the difference between the two, is there any difference at all? There are some fundamental differences actually, and they may sway you in a different direction.

Styrene Printing

Flexible Styrene Menus 

Styrene is kind of similar to Sintra, but it's a thinner material, which means that it isn't as durable. Additionally, it is available in a variety of cuts and colors. However, Styrene needs to be mounted to another material. So, whatever you plan on using it for, you have to consider where it will be installed, because if you wish to maintain the signage or display's integrity, you'll need to know how to mount it. Whether it be mounted on plywood or perhaps on an A-frame, It will look fantastic whatever you choose to do! Styrene prints are also not UV stable, so it is not safe for use in portable or outdoor signage. Outdoor use will result in cracking and yellowing. If you are using the sign indoors, consider its location. If it is propped up in the window then it may be exposed to the sun, thus start to crack and peel. If you want a smooth finished sign, with a short lifespan for indoor use- then Styrene may be the solution!

Styrene Size Options

  • .030 for single-sided or multi-sided prints 
  • .015 for single-sided printing only (the material is so thin the backside print can be seen through the front sides printed design)

Foamboard  Printing

Foamboard printing
Foam Board Prints

Formboard, also known as foam core, foam, or polyurethane foam, is another excellent shorter-term material for signage. Foam core printing has been in use since around 1957 and is widely used for picture framing, as well as for mounting documents and art. It's lightweight and has a great finish. It has a surface that is somewhat paper-like, though less acidic. However, it can be produced in a different finish for various purposes, like picture framing, mounting, and other uses. It comes in a variety of thicknesses, and the material is easy to handle. It can be cut, nailed, fixed to a wall with screws, Velcro, staples, or silicone. It's an excellent choice for large displays, photographs, sample collections, photo calls, and high-quality signs. It doesn't work well with paints, or glues (like super glue). Because the majority of adhesive contains water, it can warp the outer layers of the signage. A hot glue gun may be used; however, hot glue can cause bubbles, warps, or blemishes in the finish. While it is easy to handle, it is susceptible to dings and dents, and if you apply too much pressure it will bend and crack, so it's important that you treat foamboard with care. Foamcore printing is often used to make architectural models, as well as prototypes for small objects, as well as dioramas, scale model displays. Additionally, photographers will often use foamboard as a way to bounce light; it can be used as a mount for presentations in the design industry, as picture framing, a backing material, and of course- signage!

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